Genetically Engineered Pest Control

April 2, 2009  /  Lifestyle

Messing around with genetics may be more dangerous than we are capable of predicting.  There is much knowledge left to explore in the area of genetic coding; technology is still in its infancy stage.  Is it arrogance that gives us the impetus to move forward with new discoveries that can potentially harm humans, the environment and future generations of animal, plant and insect life?Genetically Engineered MiceAccording to National Geographic, March 2009, genetically engineered mice show no fear of cats.  While this discovery lends credence to the belief that fear is genetically inherited as opposed to being a learned behaviour, it also demonstrates that modifying the food chain could have dire and unforeseen harm.  Take the relationship between mice and cats.Historically, mice have been carriers of pandemic diseases notably the Bubonic plague.  Predators of mice, namely cats and snakes, support the survival of humans by eating the mice that carry diseases which are capable of wiping out billions of humans.  The species that predate upon the mice continue to survive immune to the diseases carried by their supper.  Genetically manipulating such fine plans carries consequences that we do not have the foresight to avoid.  Is there some sensibility that will prevail beyond the arrogance of making ignorant choices with which to experiment?Unforeseen HarmGenetically altered organisms insert potential allergens into foods and compounds that are difficult to isolate at a molecular level.  Consumers that have food or additive allergies will have to struggle even more in order to identify and control their allergens at a level of scientific knowledge most people spend years of post-secondary schooling and research to understand.  Using genetic organisms from cow’s milk to control the growth of vegetables cross-contaminates the carrot with animal-produced allergens; whereas, organic vegetables were safe from this kind of contagion.Historically, using crossing bacteria with chemicals has had disastrous results.  DDT infiltrated the ocean’s fish supply and depleted the skies of ospreys and eagles which increased the population of mice and other small rodents.  Creating crops that are resistant to herbicides is a foolish and ignorant endeavour.  We are not capable of predicting the results of such tampering and certainly have not learned from past mistakes.Plants, animals and humans are part of a complex and intertwined system.  Changing how one part moves without complete understanding of the whole machine is extremely dangerous and short-sighted.

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